by Kevin Martinez
On October 2nd, former NFL star OJ Simpson was released from a Nevada prison for armed robbery. He had been in jail since 2008 before being granted parole.
Simpson was arrested for a raid on memorabilia dealers. He and two other men broke into a hotel room, and stole several items of memorabilia at gunpoint. He was originally sentenced to 33 years, but ended up serving the minimum sentence of nine years, according to CNN.
He was a running back for the USC Trojans and Buffalo Bills, and was the second all time rusher when he retired.
What makes his release notable, however, is that Simpson is more famous for being the defendant in one of the most controversial and publicized cases of all time, in which he was accused of murdering his ex wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
In 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered, and Ms. Simpson’s ex husband was the prime suspect. Days after the murder, a warrant was put out for his arrest, and Simpson fled his house. He escaped in a televised chase in which police pursued him on a Los Angeles freeway, Simpson driving in a white Ford Bronco.
He was brought to trial, called the “Trial of the Century,” and hired high profile lawyers including Robert Kardashian. The prosecution was considered to have done a poor job, and Simpson was found not guilty. President Bill Clinton was briefed on what to do in case a riot occurred upon his verdict due to the publicity of the case. This was mostly due to mishandled DNA evidence, and the unreliability of the LAPD. Simpson’s lawyers accused the police of tampering with the victims blood to frame him. The glove that was allegedly used in the murders also did not fit Simpson’s hand, leading to speculation of his innocence. An unnamed senior believed that this was enough to acquit Simpson saying, “The glove didn’t fit, that’s all that matters.”
President Bill Clinton was briefed on what to do in case a riot occurred upon his verdict due to the publicity of the case.
However, despite the verdict in the criminal case, he was ruled guilty in a civil suit in 1997. Simpson was ordered to pay the victims’ families more than $33 million for his crimes. However, he faced no jail time because a civil trial is meant to compensate the victim, not punish the criminal.
The verdict was extremely controversial due to his abusive history and lack of alternative theories. A majority people believed him to be guilty in a recent poll, more than in 1995.
In 2006, Simpson released a book If I Did It, detailing how he would have murdered Goldman and Brown. The book was criticized, and has been viewed as an admission of guilt.
As Simpson moves on with his now free life, the acquitted murder charge will follow him forever, and he will always be viewed as a man who got away with murder.